The Rev. Randall Lee, former director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations at Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) churchwide ministries, died on July 4 at the University of Wisconsin Hospital inMadison, Wis. Lee, 56, was a member of First English Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Lee served as pastor at three ELCA congregations –Bethel Lutheran Church in University City, Mo.; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Luke in Chicago; and Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston, Ill. He also served at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, one of eight ELCA seminaries, and held positions at Evangelical Lutherans in Mission and Aid Association for Lutherans (now Thrivent Financial for Lutherans) before becoming executive assistant to the ELCA secretary. He was appointed director for ecumenical affairs and inter-religious relations for ELCA churchwide ministries in 2002.
“Randy Lee was a highly respected ecumenical and inter-religious colleague globally,” said the Rev. Donald McCoid, current ELCA executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations.
“He provided great leadership in ecumenical dialogues, and he was a leader in the National Council of Churches and The Lutheran World Federation,” said McCoid. ”His work in coordinating the statement on the episcopacy for The Lutheran World Federation was widely received and appreciated. He was a friend who exhibited a strong commitment to the unity of the church.”
The ELCA is the Federation’s only member church from the United States. The Lutheran World Federation also expressed gratitude for the substantial contributions Lee made to international ecumenical dialogue, particularly relations with Roman Catholics.
“Ecumenical partners always spoke very highly of Randy’s theological insights, relational sensitivities and commitment to greater expressions of unity in Christ’s church,” said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop. “He exemplified graciousness in receiving ecumenical guests, always recognizing that friendships and theological dialogues are both essential to deepening unity.”
Lee is survived by his parents, Raymond and Marilyn Lee.
Funeral services were held July 9 at noon at First English Lutheran Church. A prayer service was also held July 9 at ELCA churchwide ministries in Chicago.